CBD traders near Victoria Park rue Royal Croquet Club move to Pink Flat as business falls
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March 20, 2017 10:13pm
A YEAR after the Royal Croquet Club was driven out of Victoria Square, city traders now say they are missing the flow-on effects from its former home.
Venues and eateries around the square say the pop-up RCC’s move to the larger Riverbank precinct brought fewer people to the CBD during the festival season.
Damian Peterson, owner of the Metropolitan Hotel on Grote St, said compared with last year, numbers had been down.
Another bar and eatery adjacent to the square, The Taxpayer, also said trade had been down on last year.
“It’s always going to have an impact when there’s thousands of people across the road,” a spokesman said. “It has been a bit down due to those numbers of people not being around.”
The Australian Hotels Association SA branch chief executive, Ian Horne, who previously said the RCC was pulling trade from bricks-and- mortar businesses in the city, said it wasn’t just venues around Victoria Square and Chinatown feeling the pinch.
He said even businesses in surrounding suburbs were suffering, due to the sheer number of licensed events approved by the Adelaide City Council.
“By moving from Victoria Square, with a capacity of 5000 and a closing time of 2am, the council endorsed (RCC) to a capacity of 7000 and trade until 3am, so arguably the impact on the CBD and businesses in the suburbs – it’s exactly the same, if not worse,” he said.
Fringe performers at the Royal Croquet Club when it was at Victoria Square in 2016.
“This isn’t just about the Royal Croquet Club. Adelaide City Council endorsed them at 7000, The Garden at 7000 – both until 3am – Elder Park at 3000 and Gluttony at 3800.
“So there were pop-ups of 21,000 people surrounding the city ... so it has been a particularly flat February and March.”
The RCC’s Stuart Duckworth said it came as no surprise that the move resulted in fewer people visiting surrounding businesses in the CBD.
“It was only a few loud members of the AHA which got misconstrued into being representative of all bricks and mortar in the city – if you ask any vendors along Grote St, or anywhere in the centre – of course it helped their trade, because we brought 200,000 people into the city,” he said.
The city council said there had been extensive consultation over the issue.
Council has worked with businesses to enable them to benefit from events and festivals in the city over the festival season and has supported activation of Victoria Square during the Fringe and Festival.
An Adelaide City Council spokeswoman said: “Council consulted extensively on the criteria associated with the use for Victoria Square, noting it’s the civic heart of the city.